The temple at which doom musicians worship is the amplifier. Your amp is the heart of your rig and musicians of any genre are always checking out new amps and searching for more power. Drone masters Sunn O))) even named their band after their favorite brand of amps, and a quick look at their towering wall of back-line amps shows how serious they are about the subject. Do you really need a wall of speakers behind you to sound heavy? No, a good sound engineer paired with a good PA can make even a 1×12” combo amp sound huge, but nothing can replace that all-encompassing feeling of a stack of amps behind you roaring at full bore.
Vintage tube amps are king in the world of doom metal, but they are also hard to come by. Luckily, there are plenty of modern equivalents that get the job done just as well. A Plexi-era Marshall head is the perfect palette to start building your tone. Renowned throughout rock history, these amps are relatively simple, often with just one channel, and a master volume knob if you’re lucky. If you can’t land yourself a vintage ’70s JMP you still have some options. Modern reissues like the Marshall 1987XL head recreates the classic “Plexi” tone. Another paragon amp is the JCM 800, which has been used on too many rock albums to name. Laney, another brand from over the pond, has been the go-to brand of Sabbath’s Tony Iommi for decades, and while it may have a few extra bells and whistles you may or may not need, his custom TI100 is definitely doom-worthy.
Doom-Inspired Half Stacks:
When doom pioneers Sleep got an advance to record their seminal album Dopesmoker, they reportedly blew all the money on amps and the herb that helped inspire the album. Among the stacks were plenty of Matamps and their offshoots of Electric, Green, Blue and a few other color amps. These amps are built almost exclusively for the doom/stoner metal crowd.
Doom musicians are welcoming to smaller amp builders that are willing to step outside of the box. Janice Cabs, based out of Indiana, started with carpenter and founder Daniel Jones building amps out of his garage. While still operating out of a small shop, they have developed a full product line of furniture-grade cabs, and an impressive roster of artists. A more accessible option is the Orange PPC412-C 4×12” cab. Its beefy 13-ply Baltic birch and high density birch plywood construction and 240 watt power capacity yield a tighter bass response and enhanced mids, which is great for keeping all your down-tuned chugs from becoming a muddy mess. Finally, you can never go wrong with a classic, and plenty of crushing riffs have rumbled out of a Marshall 1960 cab.